Dressing for Work 101

It is socially unacceptable to go out into public naked and therefore getting dressed is something we do everyday. You would think that with all the practice society would be better at it.

I guess back in the day there were a lot more rules about what was and wasn’t OK for people to wear. I read a lot of books set in the Regency era and geez those people changed clothes a LOT. Walking dresses, riding dresses, dinner dresses, ball dresses. Men had it just as bad. I bet they spent half their day picking out the appropriate outfit they would need for the next couple hours and then getting dressed.

Rules are often a lot more lax nowadays and with the freedom comes a lot more uncertainty about what to actually wear for different occasions. It is especially tough for women in the workplace because there’s always a tension between wanting to look nice and cute and not looking like you’ve gotten where you are because of your… ahem… extracurricular activities.

Due to this, I’ve noticed that women REALLY don’t know how to dress for work. Not that it’s entirely their fault; stores and fashion are lying to them as to what it is appropriate for work.  And when I say work, I mean a fairly conservative office-setting type work.

For example, Nordstrom is a great, upscale department store where you can get fairly well made clothes that are a bit better than your standard department stores but are much less than high fashion designer prices. When you work in the law, it’s a good go-to place because female lawyers and judges of either gender are hella judgmental.

And yet, Nordstrom tells me this is perfectly appropriate for work:


No, it’s not. It’s really not. Unless you’re a gardener or something, I cannot think of a single professional occupation where it’s acceptable to wear shorts.

So, with all this in mind, I have put together a little guide on what is not acceptable to wear in an office setting* based on what I have personally seen at my work.  Ladies, you’re welcome.

1. If you’re in your 60s, it’s probably best to wear a dress/skirt that at least comes to mid-thigh.  Really, knee is more office appropriate, but dear Lord, please at least get it to your mid-thigh. Wearing black hose underneath is not enough, because:

2.      Hose are not tights or leggings. Further:

3.      Tights and leggings are not pants. By extension, hose are not pants.

          a.       No, seriously. Leggings are not pants. I don’t care how much you and   the fashion world want them to be, they are not pants. I don’t need to see the dimples of your cellulite at the office.

4.      If you’re younger than 60s, it’s still probably best to wear a dress/skirt that comes to knee length.  If you look like you’re going clubbing after work, you’re not office appropriate.  I don’t care how cute you look, you probably don’t look professional.


5.      Knee high red pleather boots with a white racing stripe are not work appropriate. I’m not really sure what made you think they were. They are even less appropriate when paired with a mini skirt. Please see above.


6.      Ok, I see some of you are trying to follow some of the rules above, but it really doesn’t count if the knee-length skirt has a slit up the front 3/4s of the way up your thigh. I really don’t need to see your upper thigh at work.

7.      Strapless satin-y jumpsuits are not work appropriate. Even if you pair it with a cardigan.  Not only do you look like you’re going clubbing after work, you look like you’re going clubbing in the 70s. It’s even more offensive when you’re the one in charge of enforcing the dress code.

8.      This might be controversial, but if your office has casual Fridays and the dress code says it’s only OK to wear jeans on causal Fridays, a jean skirt on M-Th is not appropriate. I see what you’re trying to do there, but no.

9.      Speaking of casual Fridays, if you look like you just came in from gardening, you need to step up your game.  Anything that could be mistaken for a sweat-anything should not cross the threshold of the office.

10. As a corollary, you probably shouldn’t wear anything that has a word splashed across your ass. Your ass should not be speaking to me in the hallway.



So there, that should get you started. In the meantime, what’s the worse thing you’ve seen at your office?

* Ok, look. I know that different offices have different cultures. Sometimes the above would be perfectly fine in your office, so take the above with a grain of salt and all that. Something to keep in mind, the more professional you look, the more professional people will think you are.


Fancy Dinner Musings: The obnoxious couple we sat beside on vacation

I’ve been quiet but there’s a good reason for that.  Right after Christmas my parents, my sister’s family, and my husband and I had a cruise. Which was gorgeous. Behold:




Anyway, this cruise was on the Disney Cruise Line’s Dream. For those of you who are not lucky enough to be familiar with the Disney Cruise Line just go ahead and wipe your mind of all your pre-conceived notions of what a Disney cruise would be like. Ok, maybe not all of them because maybe some of your pre-conceived notions are true, but believe me when I say there are plenty of fun, adult things to do. Behold:


(That’s the light up personal menu for the martini bar, Skyline. Skyline is one of 6 adults- only bars on the ship).

Anyway, one of the restaurants on the ship is adults-only and it’s called Remy. It is high falootin’ (that’s the technical term and wouldn’t at all embarrass them I’m sure). The chefs are from Michelin rated restaurants, it’s all super gourmet, jackets for men are required, etc, etc.

I love me some good food (I say in my country twang, y’all) so my husband and I treated ourselves when we found out they had a table for two available for our last night. The price of dinner is $75 a person for a five course meal plus “surprises” and the restuarant offers a wine pairing for each course for an additional $99 a person. I tell you that not to brag, but because it has some relevance to the story I tell below. Here are some pictures from our absolutely fabulous, to die for, dinner:

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It was wonderful until The. Couple. got sat beside us.

The. Couple. came in with another couple and the four of them were at the table next to us. The. Couple. proceeded to talk loudly enough for everyone in this nice, quiet, romantic restaurant to know that they were WELL OFF AND FANCY PEOPLE.

Although I heard much about the background of The. Couple., I’m not sure the other couple they were with ever talked. I do know that they apparently own a restaurant and/or work/run a country club in the city in which I live because The. Couple. mentioned it a couple of times. The. Couple., on the other hand, live in San Francisco.  Due to these discrepancies I made up my own backstory in which The. Couple. met the other couple that day on the ship and invited them to join them. The other couple was then silenced by regret, intimidation, and the total realization that they were totally engulfed by some major douchbaggery going on.  At least I know they didn’t have to pay for it. How do I know? The very first thing the woman of the The. Couple. (now The Woman) said to the other couple was “Don’t worry about the cost. This is on us since we made you guys come. And, of course, we’ll have the wine pairing.”

I just happened to have some paper in my purse so I decided to be totally gauche and I wrote down some choice quotes from the night as they occurred. To give you a few background points: 1) before the meal starts, there’s an “Amuse Bouche” course which is basically just “a single, bite-sized hors d’oevure,…different from appetizers in that they are not ordered from a menu by patrons, but, when served, are done so for free and according to the chef’s selection alone” (thanks Wikipedia); 2) The restaurant has an actual sommelier who comes out and serves the wine and gives you background on it; 3) all of the wines are French.

I have to admit that once The. Couple. was seated my husband and I actually stopped talking to each other and just listened to them for the rest of the night. Ladies and Gentleman, my entertainment with my excellent meal:

“Without you, I’d be like that guy from American Psycho. Before he killed everybody.”

“You have Bojangles where you live, correct? God, Bojangles. Disgusting. Even the name sounds disgusting. Isn’t it a step down from McDonald’s?” (This only means something to people who are from or have spent any time in the South and believe me when I say THEM’S FIGHTING WORDS. Bojangles is heaven.)

“Hmm. This is not really an amuse bouche.”

“Now, where exactly in this region did this wine come from? My brother has a house in that region.”

(Upon being served one of the gourmet courses) “We have this at home all the time.”

(Upon the sommelier talking about the region of France a wine came from) “Oh, I love it there. They have beautiful chateaus.”

“We have all kinds of this wine in our own cellar.”

“People who like Notre Dame are going to be disappointed.  They’re going to undergo a scandal like Penn State.”

“Oh, Warren is applying to high school. Some of them cost $30,000.00 a year, but no matter. He’ll come out better than our daughter who is majoring in print journalism. Such a dying field.”

The Woman spent about 20 minutes telling the other couple how to run their restaurant and the events they should have.  She wrapped up that portion of the conversation with “You can even get lesbians to come!”

The sommelier is pouring them another glass of wine.  The Woman sniffs it and says rapturously to him: “It smells like manure and blueberries.”

I swear that every word in those quotes is an exact quote. My husband will vouch.